Being not only a member of the LGBTQ+ community, but an African American, I wholeheartedly, understand that my people are used to being the victims of oppression; yet, the most recent example of the use of extreme power against an individual based on prejudice and ignorance is truly agonizing…
“United we stand. Divided we fall.”
-The Liberty Song by John Dickinson
On January 27th, the newly elected President, Donald Trump, signed an executive order to ban individuals from 7 Muslim-majority countries (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, and Syria) from entering the United States for a period of 90 days with the exception of those who have legal permanent residence – green cards and visas. Oddly enough, the ban does not apply to the countries at the base of the 9/11 attacks where most of the 19 plane hijackers were from– Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Lebanon. Additionally, the executive ban gives preference to accept Christian refugees from the Middle East over Muslim refugees, completely suspends the United States’ Syrian refugee program that accepted approximately 12,500 Syrians in 2016 for 120 days, reduces the cap on the total number of refugees allowed to enter the US in 2017 from 110,000 to just 50,000, and bans those fleeing the slaughter in Syria indefinitely.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Not only is the ban a violation of The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (also known as the Hart-Celler Act) which prohibits all discrimination against immigrants based on national origin. Moreover, any exclusion of the sort whether international or domestic is fundamentally un-American. America has one group yelling “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” praying that their black men come home every night, one group that remains crucified just for wanting to love and be loved, while another group is constantly alienated due to constant misconception and religion. Nothing short of absurd for a country deemed to be the "land of the free."
I am not a politician by any means, but as an LGBTQ+ activist, I do believe in standing in solidarity with those who are being mistreated and ridiculed just for being who they are. Even more so, once we realize that the core of our battles is the same, we can generate a force that is too strong to ignore. It is imperative that we come together as one band and fight with the same sounds of justice and equality. You will not always have everyone on your side and power will sometimes prevail but continue to stand behind what you believe in, like the former Attorney General Sally Yates who was fired by Trump for refusing to enforce his ban, because staying quiet is just as bad as following suite, and regardless, love always wins. It is crucial that we do our best in driving America into being a more inclusive world that matches up to its “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” potential – or at least what it seems to promise in our Declaration of Independence. Respect our existence or expect our resistance. Collectively.
“Dear undocumented students, on this campus, there are NO walls.
Dear Muslim students, you are NOT terrorists.
Dear Latino(a) students, you are NOT rapists or drug dealers.
Dear female students, men CANNOT grab you.
Dear Black students, on this campus your life matters.
Dear LGBTQ+ students, your life is beautiful and allowed to expand past fake social rules.”
-Quotes posted in a dorm at Georgia Tech.